Read about Sezzle, a High Tech Division semifinalist. You can connect with Sezzle through their Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn accounts. Discover other MN Cup semifinalists by browsing our blog and site.
Who are you and what do you do?
We are Sezzle, a payment platform for online and mobile commerce. Think of us as Paypal 2.0. We offer merchants payment processing at half the cost of PayPal or credit cards while giving consumers 1% back for making purchases through our platform. You will find us in online checkouts next to other payment options, where we will advertise our cash-back rewards. We’re using new technology that allows consumers to link their bank account to our platform via bank login. Other FinTech companies have leveraged this technology for personal financial management or P2P money transfer, and we’re bringing it to consumer-to-business payments.
What was the inspiration for your idea?
Sezzle’s story began about five years ago when our founder, Charlie Youakim, was leading his first startup, Passport. Passport manages mobile payments for the transportation industry, and Charlie was testing their first product by processing $2 transactions at a parking lot. When he received his first bill, Charlie crunched the numbers and found that the effective merchant processing cost was $0.50 per transaction. The credit card companies and other middlemen were taking 25% of the revenue Passport collected from its customers. The search for a better alternative was a non-stop endeavor for Charlie, and when he discovered the ability to sign into his bank account to enable a an instant, low-cost bank-to-bank transfer, he was inspired to create Sezzle.
What opportunities or benefits have developed due to your involvement in MN Cup so far?
The exposure we've received has been excellent. We noticed a big spike in traffic to our website the day we were announced as a semifinalist, and we still get several people each day visiting our website from the MN Cup site. We've also been in contact with a number of talented business people through the mentor program and networking events. We've enjoyed our experience with the MN Cup and wholeheartedly recommend the process to other young companies.